How to make photo coasters {DIY}

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

I’m an Instagram junkie. I LOVE me some Instagram photos. What I’m not so great at is actually getting them off my phone and doing something with them!

So, Emily and I set out to the craft store last weekend, and we came up with this fun and inexpensive DIY photo coasters project!

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog
What You’ll Need:

– (6) 4×4 white ceramic tiles (we found ours at the local hardware store)
– (6) 4×4 printed photos (I used the PostalPix app)
– Mod Podge (glossy finishing spray is an alternative option recommended by one of our readers!)
– Small, 1-inch foam brush
– Self-adhesive felt pads
– Washi tape (optional)

EDIT: we’ve had a few readers have problems with the coasters sticking to each other when stacked, so we’d like to suggest sealing the coasters with epoxy to ensure that your coasters are waterproof and non-sticky. 

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

Step 1: Apply 1 coat of Mod Podge to front of tile

Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the front of each tile, making sure to spread it all the way to the edges. (Note: This step is important! We made the mistake of skipping it on the first couple coasters, and the photo didn’t feel like it was fully adhered to the tile in the finished product.)

Step 2: Place photo on the wet Mod Podge

Place a photo on top of the wet coat of Mod Podge from step 1, and let it dry for about 5 minutes. (Decorating your photo with washi tape is optional, but it’s an easy way to add a fun & unique twist!)

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

Step 3: Apply 3 coats of Mod Podge to back of tile

This part is a little tricky with the washi tape. When you apply your first coat of Mod Podge to the back of the coasters, it may seem like the the tape is starting to unstick from the coaster. Just wait about 5 minutes until the first coat of Mod Podge has started to dry and become tacky, and press the washi tape down with your finger. Wait about 15 minutes in between each coat of Mod Podge.

Step 4: Apply 3 coats of Mod Podge to front of tile

Apply 3 coats of Mod Podge, again waiting about 15 minutes between each coat. Apply each coat as a thin layer, making sure to wrap all the way around to the sides, and smoothing out the front. It’ll look very opaque until it dries, but rest assured that it will dry clear!

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

Step 5: Stick felt pads to the bottom of each coaster

The felt pads just help to make sure that the coasters don’t scratch your table.

Step 6: Let sit for 3 days before using

It’s normal for Mod Podge to feel tacky for several days after it dries. If you wait about 3 days, you’ll give the coasters plenty of time to seal completely & make sure no water will seep in.

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

I love the way these turned out, and they make me smile whenever I see them on my coffee table. With the right photos, coasters like these are going to make great DIY Christmas gifts!

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About Jessica Beach

39 Responses to “How to make photo coasters {DIY}”

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  1. Joy says:

    Great project. Thanks for sharing . Was looking for a handmade idea to add to my niece’s house warming gift that is getting married next week. Thanks..love them..

  2. Keely says:

    I can’t wait to make these! What an adorable little guy you have there!!

  3. Feather says:

    Will this project work with one of the original mod podge solutions (matte or gloss)?

    • Hi there! Yes, I definitely think you can use any type of mod podge on these coasters. Each will give the finished product a slightly different feel, but they will all seal the photo the same. I actually updated the post to just say ‘mod podge’ and not ‘satin mod podge’ in case others are wondering the same thing :)

  4. demdi says:

    I’m not crazy about the streaks left with the mod podge. I made a set with it and one without it – the one without it sealing with several coats of glossy finish spray and much liked that look.

  5. Kelly V says:

    Do you need to spray them with a sealer to keep them water proof?

  6. Re AllenAllen says:

    Do I have to print the photos on photo paper or should it be on regular printing paper?

    • I haven’t tried regular printing paper, so I’m not sure. I imagine it would be ok, you might just have to be careful that it doesn’t wrinkle when applying the Mod Podge. If you do try it, stop back and let us know how it turned out!

  7. sue says:

    what can u seal these tile with to make them waterproof

    • I only sealed mine with Mod Podge (didn’t use an additional waterproof sealant), so I can’t personally vouch for any of these products, but I’ve seen several other articles mention Krylon Aerosol and Envirotex. Make sure to follow the product’s directions or look up instructions if you use them – I’m not sure how to apply either. Hope that helps!

  8. Rebel Brick says:

    Modge podge IS a sealer.

  9. Casey says:

    I love this project!!! I just tried it with wrapping for my husband’s man cave. They look great!!

  10. Kristine Patti says:

    I really love the concept but also don’t like the streaks that the “modgepodge” leaves. If anyone has come up with a new “protective” coverage that is clear and smooth, please share!

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Kristine! One of our earlier readers suggested sealing with several coats of glossy finish spray and found they were happier with how that looked. Hope this helps!

  11. Kelly says:

    Help! The felt pads that I used keeps pulling on the paper and if its not doing that, its leaving the fibers on the paper. I was so excited to do this project and now I’m just disappointed.

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Kelly, sorry to hear you are experiencing problems! We would love to help you if we can. It sounds like you are having problems with the felt pads Jessica suggested applying to the bottom so you don’t scratch your table. These should be applied directly to the bottom of the coaster, not to a surface with paper or picture. Can you explain more of exactly what happened so that we can help?

  12. Scott says:

    Hi I have a problem, is there any way to fix the coasters?, the problem is that they stick to the coffee mug when it’s filled with hot coffee. I’ve added a clear sealer also krylon flat clear. But they stick to the mugs with the sealer and without.

    • Emily Jankov says:

      Hi Scott, I’m so sorry your coasters are sticking to your hot coffee mugs. I see you tried a krylon coat, have you tried any other brands of a clear acrylic sealer? I’ve read from other other bloggers, this sealer has worked for them. Remember to apply 2 coats and allow a full 24 hours to dry. I hope this is helpful!

  13. Sarah says:

    Does it matter what kind of tile you use? They have different types, like high gloss, etc.

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Sarah, I believe it should work. I don’t have direct experience with high gloss tiles, but I have used it on top of (dried) acrylic paint before to put images down and it worked just fine. I’ve heard it works best on porous surfaces and paper, but I think the picture would count as that surface!

      If you decide to try it, please stop back and let us know how it turned out!

  14. Tina says:

    How have your coasters held up against hot beverages? I’ve read from other articles that without an extra sealer (e.g. Mod Podge Dimensional Magic or a clear acrylic sealer), hot beverages can actually ruin the photo on the coaster. I was curious whether these coasters have been used against hot beverages or only warm/colder beverages.

    Thank you!

  15. alycee says:

    what size photo did you print?

  16. Cath09 says:

    Hey! I know this is an old article, but if you can still answer I’d really appreciate it. If I’m not using the washy tape, do I need to put the Mod Podge on the back of the tile? Thank you!

    • Correct – the Mod Podge on the back is just to seal the washi tape. The tiles are a little rough on the bottoms, though, so just make sure to put little felt pads on them so they don’t scratch your table :) Hope that helps!

  17. Wendy Greiner says:

    So I received painted coasters for a gift and liquid has already seeped through the modge podge and the paint has completely peeled off. The 3 layers of modge podge on the front and back will guarantee that it won’t seep? Does the texture of tile prior to working with it make a difference? I want to remake them and use your idea, but I don’t want the same thing to happen. Thanks!

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Wendy! Thanks for you comment. If you want to guarantee liquid won’t seep through the modge podge, I would recommend trying to seal the coasters with an epoxy. I talk about using epoxy in this post. It takes longer to dry, but you won’t have to worry about any liquids ruining the coasters!

  18. Tonya says:

    Hi, thanks for this idea! I’d like to make Thanksgiving trivets with clear glass tiles 6″x6″ or so…? Put the photo behind the glass, and put the felt feet or clear acrylic feet on the mod podged photo or paper. What do you think? I guess I’ll try it first before I try it with the Brownie troop! :)

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      This sounds like a great idea, Tonya!! My suggestion, if you’re using clear glass, would be to adhere the photo underneath, instead of on top. Since you’re working with a clear surface, you already have a built in coaster :) If you do end up trying it, we’d love to know how it turned out!

  19. autumn says:

    what is going to prevent liquids from cold drinks sweat from running off the coasters

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Great question, Autumn! I’m not sure the answer, and I bet it’s something any coaster maker would love to know as well ;)

      • Keil Miller Jr says:

        My mother has coasters with a lip around them to contain sweat. With tile, you could try cutting a small channel round the edge with a router and very small bit? Add lots of mod podge around the edges and sand the middle lower and flat? Add a material around the edges? You could make a rubber border around the photo from inner tube. That would probably be the easiest solution while still looking good.

  20. Made quite a few of these and had students make some for mother’s day as well. To my disappointment they stick together if a bit humid and stick to the glass if there is condensation. So made more with school students and bought small plate easels from Dollar Tree so they could be for display rather than coasters.

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Lesa! What a great idea to make them little art pieces instead? Love it! I’m sorry you had trouble with coasters sticking – we’re going to edit this post to make another suggestion because it sounds like several people have unfortunately had this problem :(

  21. Kelly says:

    Hi there. I’ve made several coasters. I have let the mod podge dry for a couple days before spraying with an acrylic sealer. I have then let the sealer sit for almost a week. But then when I stack the coasters, the felt dots (I put a small felt circle on each corner of the bottom) stuck to the coaster underneath and left fibers and a mark on the tops of the coasters. I let them dry for so long before stacking, what am I doing wrong? I sold some of these at a craft fair and I’m mortified that people got home and this probably happened…

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Kelly, thanks for your comment! I’m so sorry to hear that the coasters are sticking! When we did this project, we didn’t have any trouble with the coasters sticking, however I’m going to add an edit to the post to suggest some other coating instead of mod podge – and try to test out a few others. It seems you’re not the only one having this problem, so you’re not doing anything wrong! Stay tuned…

  22. Fantastic idea! I have been looking for a little unique idea for my husbands birthday. We have a load if pictures that he loves of the family, so I know he will love them…

    Thank you Jessica <3 xoxo

  23. Tanya says:

    I had a problem with the acrylic spray ruining the colors in my photo. I used Mod Podge to coat it twice, then sprayed it to seal it. Afterward I noticed that my picture looked a bit darker after spraying the protective coating. Now 3 days later, it looks horrible! The once vibrant colors are drab and changing into ugly faded hues. They were printed at Sams Club, so I doubt its because of the way it was printed. Has anyone else had this problem? I used a clear acrylic matte coating spray from Hobby Lobby. It even says its for photographs on the can. :(

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